Voting is an important American right that every eligible voter should have the opportunity to participate in. I’m a little embarrassed to say that at 36-years-old, I have yet to vote. Simply put, I haven’t felt like my vote mattered. As time has gone on however, I feel like I cannot take the chance that my voice isn’t heard because I didn’t take the opportunity to make it heard. Like every mother, I simply want a better world for my children. So I started looking into voting because I didn’t even know how to register. Being new to all of this, I decided to put together a step-by-step guide in the hopes that everyone who wants the opportunity to vote, has it.
This is an informative piece on how to register to vote, and when and where to vote in our beautiful scenic city of Chattanooga.
Registration can be done online here. It’s a simple online application that requires a Tennessee Driver’s License or Homeland Security ID. The first page of the form looks as follows and the entire application took me about ten minutes to complete.
The voter registration deadline is July 7th, 2020 so now is the time to register. It is important to note that you must be registered to vote at least 30 days prior to the election.
After registering, I received my voter registration card by mail. I believe it took about 10 days. I am not sure if the current COVID-19 health crisis has affected this timeline. My registration card lists my poll location. However, I have recently moved and needed to update my address. This can be done at the same registration link listed above. Updating your address is important because the incorrect address and polling place can discount your vote. This was stated as one of seven specific reasons that a vote can be discounted on the back of my voter registration card. So, make sure your information is current and valid prior to July 7th.
Another noteworthy thing is the absentee ballot for voting by mail. In normal election years, this is restricted in the state of Tennessee to individuals with physical disabilities and/or an incapability to make it to the polls for reasons including religious holidays and hospitalization. In light of the current health crisis laws were recently passed allowing anyone to use mail in voting. This information may change as this very recent court ruling may still be appealed. I also want to add that list of candidates may be found here. It is up to you to research your candidates and find the one that aligns with your values most and vote for them.
With registration done, we move on to when to vote. A list of upcoming elections can be found here. You can also can also sign up to receive reminders to vote at websites such as vote.org and Rock the Vote.
As for the where to vote, there are several way to find this information. As I said, my voter registration card had the information on it. You can also use this website to find you polling location. This same information may be found on the GoVoteTN app which is downloadable through the apple store for iPhone and the Google play store for Android.